US sweeps VNL QC leg with win over Thailand

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US team celebrates during a game against Thailand in the Volleyball Nations League. FIVB PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Ali Frantti unleashed 27 points as United States averted a slow start before taking down Thailand, 17-25, 25-13, 25-23, 25-18, to complete a four-game sweep of Volleyball Nations League (VNL) Quezon City leg on Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The 6-foot-1 outside hitter unloaded 24 attacks, two blocks, and an ace, giving the defending champion its seventh win in eight games for the second seed after a masterful stint in Week 2.

Kelsey Robinson also delivered an all-around effort with 11 points, 16 digs, and seven receptions, while middle blockers Chiaka Ogbogu and Anna Stevenson chimed in with 10 points each, providing four of the team’s eight blocks.

Frantti was glad that they were able to overcome the jitters after Ajcharaporn Kongyot and Chatchu-on Moksri won the first set for Thailand before USA swept the remainder of the match for its 17th victory in its 18 matches against the Southeast Asian Games queens.

“I think the first set, we had some jitters and then, we were able to settle in and get over our nerves. I think our team did a good job,” said the American player of Chieri in the Italian Series A1 League.

“It feels awesome all the teams are incredible. Each team gave their best and I loved that. We didn’t take anything for granted everyone’s really good here so we’re really happy with what happened today.”

Team USA will play next in Calgary, Canada to wrap up the three-leg tournament.

The last time the Thais beat the Americans was in the 2009 FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Grand Prix with a five-set victory in Bangkok.

Kongyot led Thailand with 25 points, while Moksri had 13 points, 13 digs, and 12 receptions only for them to absorb their third straight defeat in four matches in Week 2.

From winning their three of their first four matches in Week 1, the Thais dropped to 4-4 in the No.8 spot, needing a  strong finish in the third week in Sofia, Bulgaria to qualify in the final round, where only the top seven squads and host Turkey.

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